Working the Way You Want

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote about choosing a Big Word for your year. Mine for 2019 was brave.

Looking back, I can cite examples of brave work choices (such as launching my leadership book club Wiser by Choice and releasing my first book, Nimble). Some events this year called for me to be braver than I wanted to have to be. At other times I wish my braver self had shown up. As with my word of 2018 (strong), I’ll keep working on it.

Heading into a new year and decade, my word is elevate.

I want to level up my own practice, while honouring and showcasing the work of people who are inspiring me. I also look forward to helping others lift their gaze and their skills in service of aligning what is important to them with what they actually do — individually and collectively.

One specific way I plan to elevate my work in 2020 is by transforming how I handle my schedule. This represents more than taking charge of my calendar (although that’s part of it). It has to do with extending my reach, but is even more about acting as if something is true before it has fully come into being — with healthy doses of experimentation and ‘starting before I’m ready’ thrown in. I’m building the structure I aspire to, then filling in the blanks.

I’ve often joked that I would rather drive to the airport than across Toronto (both near where I live), as I love planning and experiencing travel adventures. I’ve often thought travelling about 20% of my time would suit me well, so in 2020 I intend to try it. I am booking one trip per month on the calendar, other than in the two summer months. The trips are mostly for work, but a couple are for unpaid journeys too. (Eight out of nine trips are already booked — do let me know if you’d like to reserve the final slot!) I’ll happily tell you about them as the year progresses.

I recognize the enormous privilege this pattern represents in my life. It also requires a bit of bravery (I’ve been strengthening that muscle, remember?). I’m trusting that I will generate and complete more work than in 2019 despite spending more time on airplanes; that I will stay healthy; and that my family members will fare well during my absences. (I am, as many of you know, not only a mom to four, but gratefully living in a “club sandwich,” being the middle of five living generations).


One of the mantras of the Thought Leaders Business School I attend is to “do work you love, with people you like, the way you want.” In 2019, the first two were very true, but I often let the third part get away from me.  In this season of resetting, it’s why I also plan to restore space for more consistent exercise and rest. And writing, as a second book is underway.

So please accept my apologies in advance if I am less locally available in 2020 than I’ve been in previous years. I’m confident that when we do see each other, I will be refuelled and energized in ways that will elevate us both.

In the meantime, what’s your big word?

What structures are you putting into place to help you achieve it?

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